Operationalizing Fragmentation Theory in Mass Graves

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Presented in the session “Commingled and Disarticulated Human Remains: Working Towards Improved Theory, Method and Data." Fragmentation theory considers the likelihood and meaning stemming from the idea that incomplete objects and individuals in the material record were intentionally broken and distributed. One of the standing challenges confronting fragmentation theory is identifying intent. Here we analyze a Postclassic (AD 950 – 1524) Maya mass grave from site of Zacpetén in northern Guatemala via a Ripley’s K analysis. The analysis demonstrates that the mass grave exhibits statistically significant differences of long bone distributions and indicates intentional manipulation of elements on the basis of their side.


Memphis, TN

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